Cube World May Be the Biggest Flop in Video Game History
January 31, 2020
In 2010, when indie game developers Wolfram and Sarah Von Funck began working on their project known as Cube World. It was a stunning idea that quickly gained traction in the online community. This simple, voxel-based, open world, sandbox-style, and role-playing game aggressively captured the hearts of many online content creators and players. It was easy, good on the eyes, and colorful and adventurous, getting many of its stellar inspirations from other AAA video game titles like Minecraft, The Legend of Zelda and World of Warcraft.
When the year 2013 finally arrived, the game’s open alpha was released for the public to play, becoming an instant gold mine of fresh and new content in what many would’ve considered at the time to be an oversaturated and uneventful market. Cube World Alpha was the game to break this trend, becoming an instant success upon release and capturing the hearts of millions with its pretty art, exemplary and unsophisticated combat system, and amazing, infinitely, and randomly-generated open worlds.
However, the same year of its insanely popular release would also see its downfall. Towards the end of the year, the Von Funcks’ website, Picroma.com, was hit with a severe DDoS (Denial of Service) attack that shut his website down temporarily. After that, both Von Funcks failed to communicate with their online community for days, months, and even years at a time. Eventually, this lack of proper communication between the developers and their community caused the game’s status to take a sudden decline in popularity.
Finally, the Von Funck’s began to open up their social media accounts, and over the next six years the game would go without a proper update. They released incredible-looking leaks promising game-changing mechanics and a well-rounded storyline with multiple in-game factions.. Even though this looked great, there were still many who suspected that the day they would receive this content would never come.
However, the Von Funcks surprised everyone in the Cube World community when they revealed that the next update for Cube World would be released on Sept. 30, 2019, as the full game on Steam’s online store. Alpha players would be given the opportunity a week early to play the game, along with a Steam online code for free access to the new content.
However, not all went as planned.
What seemed like a beautiful resurrection for what was considered a long-dead game became the game’s final and decisive grave. The revised game, in a mechanical sense, had been fundamentally changed from the ground up. Players no longer earned levels through a lengthy and enjoyable grind that involved killing monsters to level up and receive new, much more powerful gear. Instead, the leveling system was reconfigured to a new mechanic known as artifacts. When a player would receive an artifact from a dungeon, their level would increase, but the only stats that would change were exploration abilities like hang gliding, sailing, pet riding, climbing, and swimming.
On top of this change, armor quality would now be the game’s system for becoming stronger, and each piece of armor would be region-locked specifically to the region in which it was found. This meant that if you found armor in one region and then crossed the border into another, the effectiveness of your armor would be nullified in that new region. Additionally, the Von Funcks removed the randomly-generated worlds that made the game so fun to explore, as well as failed to release previously promised content that had been revealed in leaks from their social media accounts.
As a result, Cube World soon became a horrifically mangled and disfigured version of what it once was in the eyes of many veteran players. At first, it seemed the game would be fun to play and immersive, but after a few hours, people began to peel away the thin film hiding the reality of what the game had become. The complete shift in the Von Funcks’ creative direction and their separation from classic, role-playing game tropes is what sealed the deal on ending the success of Cube World.
Since the game’s initial full release in September, the developers have only made two or three bug patches to the game and have remained completely silent on their social media accounts. This has led players to believe that the Von Funcks have given up on what would seem to be an impressive idea that had the potential to bewitch many people with its simplistic, yet fun appearance. To many, Sept. 30 didn’t become a day of happiness, but rather, a day to mourn the loss of their favorite game.